You Are Fn Kidding Me!

Life tends to be rough for the arthritic. Many days you don’t want to do things that you must do.

For me a lot of the time it is going to the gym. I joined Good Life fitness recently because I needed more than a machine in my basement that I can’t use. I get the value of switching up my activities without needing 10 grand in spare income or bulldozing down my neighbors’ house so I can add a full time gym attachment to my current 50’s wonder of a home.

But I’m proud to be doing something proactive when my disease is so damn reactive. As much as I am bitching about the aches that come with the new routine and from pushing myself. I didn’t join the gym to do the bare minimum I joined to get healthy, be in shape and feel good most of the time.

The bitch thing about arthritis is it hurts to move but it is good to move anyways.

So while I noticed I’m not always thrilled to be at the gym or in a spin class I am thrilled when I realize that I’m not feeling the ache in my knee like I used to. Some days that lack of pain is what pushes me to going to the gym.

I will confess that it struck me as odd when I felt aches in my mid thigh..round about where the ceramic joint meets the femur. During my check in with my rheumatologist I mention it and a round of x-rays occurs.

I got the call on Tuesday morning. There is something on the x-ray. I should be seeing the surgeon. I wish I could say that I wasn’t surprised because I was warned that psoriasis could grow on the joint and I could be looking at more surgeries to clean the scales off of the joints.

Now I could be all macho and talk about how I didn’t get upset. That I handled the news with calm and zen.

But the truth is I had a complete meltdown in my shower.  My Flip shower head may never forgive me for the things I screamed at it.

My hip joints are only 4 years old with an estimated shelf life of 20 – 30 provided I take care of myself. I felt so lost thinking about the things in my life that make having to take time off to have my joints taken apart and cleaned and put back together never mind what the recovery time can be.

I am not ok with this being my possible fate but I’m not stopping what I am doing with my life to worry about it because I’ve recently taken on a full plate.

Busy keeps me from becoming insane with trying to find ways to control things that just aren’t controllable.

Then I’m insane from being busy.

From my getting fit file:

This week I learned that a newbie shouldn’t get on a treadmill and think that it is Just a Treadmill. I selected a setting and used it for my cool down. My thighs are still not sure that I’m not completely nuts.

Ah well Friday! Means sauna treat day!

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Unexpected Traditions

This may shock some folks but I spent Monday nights as a slip of a girl at Brownie meetings that were held in the basement of St. Ignatius church.

Yes, I was a slip of a girl once.

Yes, I used to be on church property and there wasn’t a bolt of lightning aimed at me. At least not as far as I know. There were a few dark and stormy nights in there I’m sure.

When I joined Brownies they became short a Brown Owl or group leader and knowing my mom had a long history of guiding it took nothing for me to volunteer her for the job. Of course I was good enough to give her a week’s notice about the whole thing.

So eventually our routine on Mondays was to go to Brownies together and then afterward we’d usually go to Pizza Place in Grant Park Place for dinner. It slowly became our tradition and it’s one that I still smile fondly about to this very day.

In recently months I’ve found myself with busy Monday nights again. I started a Mary Kay business in the fall and it turns out I’m pretty good at it. Weekly unit meetings are held on Monday nights, and for me at least, across the city. It puts a bit of a pinch in eating dinner together as a family but enter Perkins with the Kids Eat Free promotion.

Now our new tradition is to go together and enjoy a meal after which I proceed to head out the door to my meeting and Kevin and the kids head home for bath time and bedtime.

Often when we think of family traditions we think of those large occasions like Christmas or Thanksgiving but miss those little routines that sit at the heart of the family unit. Be it Sunday dinners, or family game night, or always having ice cream at the BDI the first day it opens or celebrating a new football season with a trip to the Whistle Pig…

O.k. that last one I’m projecting but hope to make it a new tradition starting this year.

I just hope someday my kids will look back and smile about Mondays at Perkins.


The Enbrel Protocol

So I had to miss a friend’s wedding social last night but alas life is often a delicate balance between what I want to do vs what my body can take.

Doesn’t make me thrilled to have missed it at all because I’ve known the groom for years. He’s one of those friends where if  you need anything he’d be there to give a hand even if you haven’t talked in a year or two.

When I started Enbrel last fall I has a long list of things to do to take care of myself. One of these things was if I felt so much as a tickle in my throat or aches or anything that could be seen as a symptom of an infection I have to be seen by a Dr within 24 hours and I pretty much need to hibernate until I do see someone.

So here I am pretty much confined to the company of my family only because well let’s face it if I am infected then they are probably already carrying whatever it is that I have to share or because they are the outbreak monkey that brought it home.

I swear sometimes I think about investing in a nice bubble to keep myself in.

Of course this is all tied into being an auto-immune arthritic.

So in non medical terms…my immune system is bat shit crazy and thinks that I am a virus unto myself.

In return I nuke my immune system into complacency two times a week with Methotrexate on Wednesdays and Enbrel on Saturdays.

It’s a completely screwed up love/hate relationship my white blood cells and I have with each other. Sadly I see no happy ending where we realize all the good we love about each other and agree that we will get through this life together as a team. My immune system is going to keep trying to kill me whenever it can and I am going to continue to menace it with the finest pharmaceutical solutions Big Pharma can give me.

I’ve just realize that my immune system is the Moriarty to my Holmes.

I’m my own nemesis engaged in an eternal struggle of dominance…

I should have suspected something was up when I hit the wall some time Friday. I tend to push myself to the limit on a regular basis because I decided long ago that I was going to be the one to control my fate not my disease. It got to call the shots for a really long time so I figured it is my turn to call shots for a while and so I have but every once in a while my body asserts its will and when that happens I’ve come to term it as hitting the wall. Mostly because I seem to come to a dead stop in the middle of my life…like driving into a wall at NASCAR it is a complete stop.

So Friday I hit the wall and Saturday I feel the effects of it leaving me with no choice on Saturday night to enact The Enbrel Protocol of not leaving the house unless I absolutely have to until I can see a medical professional which is an adventure in and of itself.

I hate breaking in new Drs that are unfamiliar with my medical history, explaining that I have arthritis, that I have hip replacements, that I take Enbrel, that I take Methotrexate and all I really need it to be checked and prescribed anything if required. No, I haven’t got a fever and if I do you might want to add Prednisone to my prescription because fevers are not a sign of infection as much as it is a sign of flare up and inflammation. No, I don’t get fevers when I have infections because I am nuking the body’s ability to produce a fever as a sign of infection. Yes, I’m aware that exercise is beneficial to arthritis patients and I do what I can when I can. Excuse me Dr but perhaps before you lecture me on how I need to be doing more in your strong medical opinion that you stay up for 3 days straight with a side of stomach flu and see how much working out you get done cause right now that’s how I’m feeling like I haven’t slept in 3 days with side effects that aren’t fun for anyone.

I also don’t discount that there is always an emotional factor to my illness and when I hit the wall my emotions are always hightened. Mostly because I fear being back in the hallway…that hallway haunts me.

This past Monday’s episode of House shook me to the core which isn’t rare as it often does because well when your health has had House-ian moments it often can hit too close for comfort. If you haven’t watched and are a House fan spoiler alert for you. The scene where House tells Wilson that the chemo is killing him and Wilson tells House he’s not going to the hospital because he didn’t want to die there or in the ambulance was almost more than I could bare to watch. Kevin looked at me and commented that he’d been there and had a similar conversation in a time not too long ago and I cried uncontrollably.

Now time to rest, and recover which would be steps 2 and 3 of  The Enbrel Protocol.


Staring You in the Face

Since the mid of October my life has been in a rut and I’ll be honest I’ve been making half assed efforts to getting myself together.

In truth…I’ve been the poster child for frump-tasticness combined with how to put out a minimal effort on some things.

Of course in this life fortune often favours the bold and not the half assing it frump.

So after a couple of months of trying to find my bearings, attempted to find a path I could start down, a weekend project provided me with much needed meditation and a daily reminder of what a full effort can do.

RustOleum, makers of fine spray paint, put out a new kit recently that allowed for home improvement on the cheap folks like myself to reface their kitchen cabinets. Kevin bought the kit a few months ago, got the colour we agreed upon and it proceeded to sit there.

I guess I was hoping it would figure out how to do the project without my assistance. Like I was going to be able to magically find the force and Jedi my ass through the whole deal.

I’ve re-finished a couple of antique pieces in the past and I really enjoy the work. Taking a piece of furniture and seeing the potential and then getting it there…all things I actually enjoy but haven’t been able to enjoy due to life and a lack of space. Throw in the mentality of I don’t think I can I’m arthritic and my hands don’t work very well and it causes delays all on it’s own.

Tangent

I’m still dealing with the fact I’ve had to legally change my signature in the last month because it is getting too difficult to put S. Robert on the line or the fact that I find it quite hard to write for long periods of time and have had to resort from taking notes to recording and typing it up later. It’s not been helping my frumpy self feel empowered. Esp when folks keep asking if you need a pen or want to repeat that you really should be taking notes.

Tell you what I’ll take notes if you will let me tape all your fingers together on your dominant hand and you try to function that way for the rest of the day.

Enjoy that trip to the bathroom!

How about trying to work a knife or fork?

Perhaps you’d like to try using a gear shift or attempt to steer a car?

Yes, I know not a nice thing to type but I put it here because this is my safe space and because well I’m tired of explaining it to folks. I have a disabling disease so I have found other ways to deal with it and not let it get in my way. If that bothers you well it isn’t my perception that needs to be changed.

I, of course, never say these things. I do think them though and to be put on the spot repeatedly just makes me feel even more aware of my shortcomings. I don’t need to be reminded of them…I’m already very aware of all of them thanks.

It’s bad enough when I have to ask my husband to cut my steak at some restaurants…

/Tangent

So this weekend comes and yet again I swear I am going to get the project done but alas I find myself looking for reasons to not get it done. Kevin has learned the subtle ways to get me off my ass when pushing me will result in me pushing back at him rather than pushing myself further.

Tangent

Yes, I admit that I am partially at fault for my kids’ stubborn natures. Takes two though!

/Tangent

So Kevin removes the cupboard doors and the hardware off the drawers off our stand alone item and dumps the contents.

Well played sir…now it is taunting me.

So I review the instructions and start getting the items I need together to start working on this project. I’ve delayed enough.

O.k. so read instructions 50 times…check

Have paint brush suitable for job…check

Have items to do first step handy…check

On the floor ready to go…shit.

I’ve not really been down on the floor since Nathaniel was a baby. When my flare happened in 2006 I pretty much kept off the floor because, well frankly, I got stuck and had to helped up and my pride can only take so much.

In walks Kevin…cutter of steak, kicker of procrastinating rump, example of how to get down on the floor. So with some encouragement, and one slight panic attack, I get down on the floor and start the process of cleaning the cupboards.

Of course once started I felt the need to finish and the end result is that the cupboards are done and some much needed meditation occurred. In that meditation came the acceptance that I need to be pro-active about my life and frankly the only one that gets us out of any slump is us.

So at the end of Saturday I kept looking at my cupboard with a big amount of pride because well it looks pretty fantastic and because despite the fact that I tried to put it off I finally got some of it done.

This weekend….the piece under the sink gets done.


Graham James = Silence in the Marble Halls

So I started this blog originally a few days ago when the sentence for Graham James came down but to be honest it was an emotional response. An extreme emotional response. Pretty sure what I wrote and then deleted came off as more the rantings of the outraged mother and less the thoughts of a intelligent woman.

Now I’m back and ready to share what I have processed. In what I hope will come across in a balance of outrage and intelligence.

First I have to thank Theo Fleury, Todd Holt, Sheldon Kennedy and Greg Gilhooly for coming forward. For standing strong and for giving sexual abuse survivors reasons to come forward and share their stories. Serial pedophiles count on the shame their actions invoke in the victims to keep them silent. You’ve stood up and told every survivor out there that they carry no shame, and that they can speak up and be embraced, not judged, by a nation.

You are brave and you are heroes. Your voices are proof that truth isn’t always pleasant to hear but that it is important that it is spoken.

After the verdict came down I went to Twitter mostly to start tweeting at my Member of Parliament, Shelly Glover and to show my support for Theo Fleury and Todd Holt. I’ve also tweeted at Prime Minister Harper but I understand he is out of the country at this time.

As much disgust as I feel at the verdict the politician and amateur lawyer in me knows that even 6 years would be too light for the years of physical and emotional torture Mr. James committed against who knows how many victims. I don’t think Mr. James’ offenses have all come to light and sadly the light sentence and worry for Mr. James’ comfort will not encourage others to come forward and unburden themselves. Why should they? They will get nothing even close to justice.

Part of what galls me is he confessed to what he did. He admits he is a serial pedophile with tastes running to young boys. It my very strong opinion that when someone shows you who they really are you should believe them. Mr. James has stated very clearly that he likes to molest young boys, they are his type and given his pattern of attacks he also enjoys the psychological games he plays to get them groomed and compliant with his whims.

Yet our legal (not justice…there is no justice here) system turns a blind eye to his confessions and pattern of behavior and fails to punish him for the crimes which he confessed to. The only time I’ve known confession to be a cleansing of the soul is when it is between penitent and priest.

So far Mr. James has been allowed to the poster boy for how the law fails the most innocent of our citizens. He’s served minimal sentences, has been pardoned, and even now has managed, yet again, to play the system. His only restrictions are to stay away from his victims upon release. Mr. James will still be allowed access to computer, internet and thus the underground child porn industry. He will still be able to feed his appetites, although indirectly, and in this way will continue to be an abuser of young men. He will also be able to purchase what he desires from the child sex trade that has only recently come to light as a growing concern. He will still be breaking the law for which there will be no real punishment…Again.

I figure it won’t be hard to stay away from his victims. By James’ own admission…they no longer fit his type. But others do and they aren’t safe from his attentions as long as he is outside a jail cell.

Now if I can figure this out why couldn’t a judge, Member of Parliament or Member of the Legislative Assembly.

Why is there only silence in the marble halls of Parliament Hill and the Manitoba Legislative Assembly? Why is there no Member standing up and sharing the outrage of their voting citizens. Many across Canada are disgusted. They don’t understand why Mr. James got only 2 years when Sandusky of Penn State is looking at over 400 years if he’s convicted of similar crimes.

Hell I don’t understand it.

I call upon my Member of Parliament, Shelly Glover, to bring my outrage to The Hill. I am outraged  as a mother who tells her children to tell me anything and I will do everything I can for them. I tell them they are lucky to live here, I tell them this is a wonderful place to live and be a kid. Don’t make me a liar because government is falling down on the job of making sure the laws protect the victims. I appreciated your statement but I believe of all Members you are the one with the background to push forward. As a former police officer I am sure this situation, and these victims are not new to you. You know the fall out of these crimes…first hand.

I call upon my Member of the Legislative Assembly, Bidhu Jha, to get off his bench and start pushing for his party’s Justice Minister to push the Federal Justice Minister to start really looking at changing the law and protecting our children. These boys were citizens of Manitoba when they had crimes committed against them. It should fall on the Manitoba Government to push for change and stand up because right now the country is looking at us. How should we respond? How will you respond Mr. Jha?

Finally I call upon these survivors to keep talking. Don’t let inactive government prevent your voice from being heard loud and strong.

In closing I may not be an MLA, and I may be politician without a party, thus Independent, but I am a mother. If my children were victims of a predator I’d want to be confident that they could come forward and have justice. Every victim should be confident they will have their day in court. That a judge will worry about their fears, their violations and their rights.

Not the reputations of confessed serial pedophiles.

Thus I lend my voice and my outrage to the cause.


Fun Facts for St. Pat’s!

Broken Secrets

March 17th is the big day. I’m giving you some notice so you can dig to the bottom of your laundry pile, find your green shirt from last year and put it in the washing machine.

If you can’t find a green shirt, go with a blue one instead. According to historians, blue was the original color associated with Saint Patrick. In fact, the 1912 dress code for Lord Chamberlain specified that the household of the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland should wear St. Patrick’s blue.

The 1924 Irish Olympic football team wore St Patrick’s blue and the Northern Ireland team (known then as the “Ireland association football team”) wore St. Patrick’s blue jerseys from 1882 until 1931, when they switched to green.

Let me tell you why…

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Just the Facts

If you are clicking this link because you want to know all the dirty details of what happened between my mother and the Manitoba Liberal Party…

I don’t have any.

I can confirm that my mother quit the party last night. They can claim she’s suspended for 10 months and that she won’t be coming back to the party because she quit but I ask you how can one suspend what they don’t have?

In response I cancelled my LAMP membership and resigned from the committees I sat on because I was lied to. I won’t get into who lied to me or how they lied to me but know that I was lied to by someone that sits on that board.

Someone I trusted.

I’m not a typical politician. Maybe it is because I am still idealistic enough to believe that politicians who wish to be selected to serve the people should actually have integrity and not just feign it.

It shouldn’t be a perception of integrity it should really exist.

Now as of the end of last week I had decided to look past the comments of other party members, including the one person that thought it would be great to libel my name on Facebook by declaring rumors as known fact.  I wanted to save what was my party and I was confident I could set aside the personal attacks and focus on that.

In fact I vocally re-committed to the party Saturday afternoon in a meeting with party officials and said that despite the libelous actions of another party member I would work past it. That changed with a phone call last night.

I’m a mom. I have 3 kids and I tell them everyday that lying is wrong. To be a liar is wrong, to mislead people is wrong, and it is wrong to not keep your word. So how can I look at them everyday and tell them to be honest and upstanding when I, myself, would be in a room with folks who aren’t upstanding or honest themselves. It would be like silently endorsing what they do and who they are as o.k.

Then there is the issue of my kids looking up to these people and thinking they are worthy of their respect and admiration. I’d rather be someone they can look up to with respect and admiration and know that I earned it because I walk my talk about being honest and standing up against something you know is wrong.

I also want my kids to think for themselves and not feel like they have to go along because people might not like them. I would never want my daughter to go along with what a boy/man wants because what if he doesn’t like her anymore. I wouldn’t want my sons to feel as if they should go along with the crowd because what if someone doesn’t like them anymore. If my kids grow up thinking that they have to go along to be liked, have friends, be respected, get anywhere, be anything I will always feel like I let them down in some fundamental way.

If you have an issue with me leaving this party and this Leader. If you have a problem with me disagreeing publicly with said Leader’s ideas and party suggestions. If you have a a problem with me writing this blog I have a newsflash for you.

It’s YOUR damn problem.

So for the person who libeled me this week here are some facts (I know you love to throw that word around):

Fact: Effective last night I QUIT the Manitoba Liberal Party. I wasn’t asked to leave, suspended, requested to turn in my membership or any other wording that makes it look like I am being punished like a petulant toddler. Also I don’t feel bad about it and I probably never will.

Fact: I was honored to have run in an election at least once in my life. One of my life goals was to run for office and, ideally, win. Despite the fact I lost I at least took the chance. I have no regrets about how it turned out. No one can ever take away that moment when I saw my name on the ballot.

Fact: I have no intention to start a new party. Any rumor stating that is incorrect and anyone saying it has absolutely no concrete fact with which to back it up. I do, however, plan to follow the model of Nero.

Fact: I know many will celebrate this. You will think you have won some grand prize liberating your party of those malcontents “that don’t speak for you”. Can’t wait to see the next one you hold up as what is wrong with the party. Beware since the next one could be you.

Fact: I’m still considering a libel suit.

Fact: I’m sad I will miss the green velvet cake I selected as dessert for the dinner (In fact I picked the whole meal…enjoy!) on March 17th. Luckily I found a recipe and will make my own so even then it is no loss.

In the end what I take away is the removal of something off my bucket list. Not a simple task either but one of those life defining ones where you walk away knowing more about who you are.

I also have the ability to look at myself in the mirror, straight in the eye and know that if money talks and bullshit walks…that I am not bullshit.